A number of UK politicians are saying the government is making a big mistake by snubbing the first UK politician to meet Donald Trump since he became US president-elect.
Interim UKIP leader Nigel Farage is already firmly within Trump’s powerful inner circle but a senior cabinet source told The Daily Telegraph that May is not allowing her Conservative ministers to speak to Farage. The ban comes despite the fact that Whitehall has “no plan” for Trump becoming the next US president.
The Daily Telegraph report adds that “a number of members of the Cabinet and other Government ministers” believe the Prime Minister Theresa May and her closest minister have “made a mistake by referring to Mr Farage as an ‘irrelevance.'”
A few days after Trump became the new US president-elect, Farage — dubbed “Mr Brexit” by Trump — sat down with him at his home in New York City and a Trump aide said the pair had a “very productive” meeting. Farage, who is also an MEP, tweeted this picture of himself and Trump in a gold-plated elevator:
It was a great honour to spend time with @realDonaldTrump. He was relaxed and full of good ideas. I’m confident he will be a good President. pic.twitter.com/kx8cGRHYPQ
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) November 12, 2016
While Trump and Farage have already met, May is not set to meet the future president for a few more weeks.
Farage is willing to help May’s government “mend fences” with the US, saying in an interview with the BBC: “I do think that just too many members of this government said too many nasty things about the President-elect, and I think there has to be a mending of fences.
“There’s a real opportunity here. Not only President-elect Trump, but his whole team is Anglophile. They like our country, they recognise what we’ve done together in the past, and they’re coming into this with an incredibly positive view. We need to seize the day.”
However, May’s government said Farage would not be representing May in any capacity on the day of the US elections results. The Telegraph says: “Downing Street on Sunday insisted again that Mr Farage will have no official or unofficial role in the months ahead.”
On Monday, a BBC assistant political editor echoed this stance, saying on Twitter:
No 10 insist no role for Farage in building links with Trump. “It is categorically not going to happen.”
— norman smith (@BBCNormanS) November 14, 2016
More senior officials are telling The Daily Telegraph that this is the wrong way to go. The report added that “senior sources in the government have now made clear that Downing Street will have to back down and allow ministers to have conversations with Farage” in order to get access to Trump’s inner circle.